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Dow, S&P 500 Set New Record Highs      11/21 15:55

   The Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index carved out 
all-time highs on Friday, extending the market's gains for the week. It was the 
third record close for the Dow in the week and the fourth for the S&P 500.

   (AP) -- U.S. stocks capped a week that already had several record highs by 
delivering a couple more.

   The Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index carved out 
all-time highs on Friday, extending the market's gains for the week. It was the 
third record close for the Dow in the week and the fourth for the S&P 500.

   The latest records extended a comeback in the S&P 500, which has increased 
11 percent since plunging in mid-October.

   Investors on Friday cheered news of an interest rate cut in China and the 
possibility that Europe's central bank will step up stimulus efforts in the 

   "What it suggests is that these central banks are prepared to do even more 
to stimulate growth, to stimulate demand, and that always equates to better 
stock markets," said Quincy Krosby, a market strategist at Prudential Financial.

   All 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index rose, with materials stocks climbing the 
most. The sector is up 9 percent this year.

   Energy stocks were among the big gainers, getting a boost from a rebound in 
oil prices. Some traders anticipated that OPEC will decide to cut production at 
a conference next week.

   Ross Stores led the gains in the S&P 500, adding $6.09, or 7.3 percent, to 

   All told, the S&P 500 index rose 10.75 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,063.50. 
That's just above the index's previous high close a day before at 2,052.75. The 
S&P 500 is up 11.6 percent this year.

   The Dow gained 91.06 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,810.06. That's up from 
its last record close of 17,719 on Thursday. The Dow as gained 7.4 percent this 

   The Nasdaq composite added 11.10 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,712.97. The 
index is up 12.8 percent for the year.

   A strong third-quarter earnings season, on top of a recent string of 
positive U.S. economic data on housing, jobs and manufacturing, have helped put 
investors in a buying mood.

   The prospect of central banks outside the U.S. ramping up their own stimulus 
efforts is seen as another positive for stock investors, particularly with the 
Federal Reserve winding down its massive bond-buying program this year.

   "Central bank intervention is the No. 1 thing investors worldwide are 
looking at right now," said Mike Serio, regional chief investment officer at 
Wells Fargo Private Bank. "In the short run, that looks pretty good for stocks."

   On Friday, China's central bank lowered the interest rate on its one-year 
loans to financial institutions by 0.4 percentage points to 5.6 percent. The 
surprise cut came in the wake of recent figures showing that the country's 
annual growth rate slowed to a five-year low of 7.3 percent last quarter.

   European Central Bank President Mario Draghi also caused a stir in markets 
when he told a conference in Frankfurt, Germany, that the bank is willing to 
"step up the pressure" and increase its efforts to stimulate Europe's 
struggling economy.

   If current efforts do not achieve the desired effect, Draghi said the ECB 
could "broaden even more the channels through which we intervene."

   For many in the markets, that was a clear hint that the bank could soon 
starting buying government bonds.

   Beyond the talk of central bank stimulus, investors had their eye on the 
latest batch of corporate earnings Friday.

   Traders bid up shares in several companies that reported 
better-than-expected earnings, including software maker Splunk and sporting 
goods retailer Hibbett Sports. Splunk rose $1.99, or 3.1 percent, to $66.93. 
Hibbett gained $1.82, or 4 percent, to $47.75.

   Video game retailer GameStop and clothing chain operator Gap slumped after 
delivering disappointing results. GameStop slid $5.68, or 13 percent, to 
$37.86. Gap fell $1.68, or 4.2 percent, to $38.46.

   Wireless communications company Aruba Networks sank 13.7 percent after its 
outlook fell short of financial analysts' expectations. The stock shed $2.98 to 

   China's interest rate cut raised hopes for increased economic activity and 
oil demand. That helped lift oil prices.

   Benchmark U.S. crude gained 66 cents to settle at $76.51 a barrel in New 
York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. 
refineries, rose $1.03 to close at $80.36 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

   In other energy futures trading on the NYMEX, wholesale gasoline rose 2.9 
cents to close at $2.057 a gallon, heating oil rose 2.5 cents to close at 
$2.405 a gallon and natural gas fell 22.3 cents to close at $4.266 per 1,000 
cubic feet.

   In metals trading, gold rose $6.80 to $1,197.70 an ounce, silver rose 26 
cents to $16.40 an ounce and copper rose a penny to $3.03 a pound.

   U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note 
fell to 2.31 percent from 2.34 percent late Thursday.


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